Thursday, October 8, 2009

Letter to the editor at Taipei Times regarding ROC Supreme Court ruling on October 1

On October 7, I wrote a letter to the editor at the Taipei Times regarding this photo which accompanied an article written about the recent Republic of China's Supreme Court ruling on Su Beng's involvement in incidents occurring in 2005. Well I just found out that the Taipei Times has published it!

Photo courtesy of: Liu Hsin-De, Taipei Times

I guess the thrill of seeing what you've written in black and white or online never gets old. Here's the unedited letter I submitted to the Taipei Times:

Dear Taipei Times Editor,

Your October 3, 2009 article, “Court upholds ruling on Su Beng”, states that, “The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a lower court ruling that found independence activist Su Beng (史明) guilty of using violence or threatening behavior at a public gathering and other crimes in a 2005 protest against then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Lien Chan’s (連戰) visit to China. “

It is unfortunate that the ROC Supreme Court ruling seems to characterize Su Beng as man of violent actions.

What I’d like to comment on pertains not so much to the content of this particular article, but to the photograph that accompanies the article and its caption which reads, “Veteran independence activist Su Beng waves a stick inside Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on April 26, 2005, during a protest against then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Lien Chan’s visit to China.”

Look closely at the photograph and you will see that Su Beng is waving a wooden cane, the wooden cane that he uses to walk with, not a stick that could be misconstrued to be a weapon.


Felicia C. Lin
Su Beng’s English Biographer

Here is how the letter to the editor at Taipei Times appears at the Taipei Times online: here:

The original Taipei Times article that I wrote in response to appears here:

ROC Supreme Court Sentences Su Beng to 230 Days In Prison

On October 1, 2009, the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC), the Republic of China (ROC) Supreme Court sentenced Su Beng to 6 months and 50 days, or a total of 230 days in prison for his involvement in two incidents that occurred on April 26, 2005. Su Beng's assistant, Bin Hong was also sentenced with 6 months, plus 3 months, i.e. a total of 9 months- for her involvement in incidents that occurred on April 26 and May 3, 2005. Both Su Beng and Bin Hong must either serve out these sentences or pay a penalty of NT$1000/day for each day of the sentence, which means that Su Beng would have to pay NT$230,000, in lieu of serving the 230 days in prison, and Bin Hong would have to pay approximately NT$270,000. I first wrote about these charges here.

Su Beng told me that he was surprised to learn of the ROC Supreme Court judgment through reporters from the Liberty Times and Apple Daily newspapers, who had called him asking for his reaction to the judgment. I'm not sure, but this seems to imply that the media might be privy to court rulings before they are publicly released. The judicial system in Taiwan is quite complex and confusing, so I'm going to have to look into this.

How did all of this get started? What exactly happened on April 26?

On April 2, 2005, Su Beng and his associates "greeted" Chiang Pin-kun, then Kuomintang (KMT) Vice Chairman, at the Taiwan Taoyuan Airport with protests. Chiang Pin-kun was returning from a trip to Beijing. Su Beng and his associates were protesting Chiang's visits to China, which they deemed as a betrayal of Taiwan's sovereignty.

Soon after Chiang’s return to Taiwan, there were rumors that Lien Chan, then KMT Chairman, would be going to Beijing on April 26. Su Beng’s assessment of this situation was that the Kuomintang was about to sellout Taiwan to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

On April 26, 2005, Lien Chan was to leave Taiwan for a trip to Beijing. Su Beng and members of the Taiwan Independence Association's (TIA) underground network (which consisted of 100 people in 70 Taiwan Independence Association vehicles) followed Lien Chan's motorcade, to the Taiwan Taoyuan Airport. Amongst the TIA members were several taxi drivers who made coordinated efforts to surround Lien’s motorcade so that a taxi carrying Su Beng could drive up along side Lien’s car, close enough so that Lien could read a piece of paper that Su Beng held out the window of the taxi. It read, “Don’t sellout Taiwan.” After following Lien Chan for 49.5 km on the highway, Su Beng and the TIA were able to stop Lien's vehicle for about 5 minutes. But Lien had some police escorts with him, so they stopped the Taiwan Independence Association from blockading Lien's vehicle. Even though the Taiwan Independence Association was not able to blockade Lien, they continued on to the airport.

Later on, Su Beng and members of the Taiwan Independence Association arrived at the airport. They were on the third floor of the airport when they saw some people dressed in black using bats to beat up some old Taiwanese men who were at the airport protesting Lien's visit to China. The people from the Taiwan Independence Association who were with Su Beng were not carrying any weapons with them, but they had some fireworks on them, so they set off the fireworks to scare away the men dressed in black. The police stopped the Taiwan Independence Association people, so then Su Beng and people from the TIA left through a side door.

The Taiwan Independence Association had tried to blockade Lien Chan on the highway en route to the airport, in hopes that if they could delay Lien by just half an hour, it would make international news, making a statement that Taiwan is not a part of China. Not only did the Taiwan Independence Association want to interrupt Lien Chan’s visit, but more importantly, they wanted to warn the Taiwanese people that Lien Chan, the KMT and CCP were all going to betray Taiwan.

I've talked to Su Beng about these charges. He simply said that the ROC law is not the law of Taiwan.

It seems that the one thing that you could say that Su Beng and Bin Hong are guilty of, is of loving Taiwan. Su Beng wonders, is it such a crime to love Taiwan?

Furthermore, the Republic of China's (ROC) Supreme Court judgment was announced on October 1, 2009, which is the 60th anniversary of the Peoples’ Republic of China. In doing so, Su Beng feels that the KMT has used this judgment as a tool to appease the Chinese Communist Party. He thinks that the Taiwanese people should know that the ROC does not represent the country of Taiwan, and Taiwan will survive only if Taiwan becomes independent.

The Taipei Times recently ran an article about the ROC Supreme Court's sentence of Su Beng.

NOTE: Before you read this article in the Taipei Times, I'd like to point out that in the photograph Su Beng is pictured waving the wooden cane he always walks with. He is not just "waving a stick" (that could be misconstrued as a weapon), as described in the photograph. To read the article click here.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Su Beng is now on facebook!

Thanks to Su Beng's assistant Bin Hong (敏紅), Su Beng is now on facebook! Checkout his profile and friend him here:

The other day Bin Hong and I talked over Skype about "facebooking" strategies for Su Beng.

I'm looking forward to this opportunity to help Su Beng increase his visibility in this new, as yet uncharted frontier.

In this day and age of social media (i.e. Twitter, LinkedIn, FaceBook), it's important to know how to leverage these platforms in order to develop new contacts, and your personal brand.

There's always something new to be learned. So bring it on!